Anyone else think game critics are playing a big prank on gamers?

               (Or are they really deluded enough to think these two games are decent?) The games I speak of, of course, are Halo 3 and The Ooze. Yes, both these games are hideously overrated. Now I know what many of you are thinking: of me dying a horrible death for insulting your messiah. Just remember that I didn't start the Flame War. And in an attempt to keep the hatred to a minimum, I'll start with The Ooze and end with Halo 3. So as I alluded to in the last sentence, The Ooze. It was a Genesis game released when the system was pretty much dead, so don't expect major quality. Anyway, there was a story here, but I decided to make up my own: you play as Fred Fredburger (oozified, of course (at 1:39)),, the story they provided was better than the one I'm trying to come up with. As I said before, you play as a pile of ooze, and you have several ways to attack your enemies. You can shoot ooze balls at your enemies, strike them with your oozy appendages, or collect an instant death poison power up. Speaking of power ups, there are only a few I found: aside from the poison thing, there's super speed, DNA for the "good" ending (more on that later), and extra ooze. Ooze acts as your health and form of attack, and it's really fun to roam around levels as a huge nuclear mess.
               Wait, "roam around levels"....isn't that where the big flaw comes in? Exactly. What could've been a good game was ruined by awful level design. Most of your time will be spent looking for switches to activate or random holes in the architecture that lead somewhere. Some of these switches and holes are hidden out of vision with no hints as to their existence! Who designed these levels, sadists with an unusually random train of thought? Naturally, this means the game is hard. You'll spend a lot of time on this game, just figuring out where the hell you're supposed to go. So you'd think that this would make for a decent ending, right? Well, The Ooze suffers from Ghosts 'n Goblins Syndrome, throwing a crap ending at you for 100%ing it.
               While I'm bashing the game, I might as well bring up exploding enemies. Aside from collecting goo orbs, you also collect extra ooze by beating enemeis. However, kinda late in the game, you encounter exploding enemies. "No problem, right? I'll just collect a large amount of ooze, stay at a distance, and attack them with my oozy appendages." Not gonna work, Mr. Optimistic. Some of these enemies are actually dragged into you as soon as you beat them. And they explode within an inch of your life (literally). The only way to avoid this is to shoot your goo at them, which again, uses up health. Either way, you're gonna lose health.
               It's a shame that The Ooze sucks so hard, because there were some good ideas behind it. After all, who doesn't want to control a poisonous puddle of muck, destroying everything in that dares cross their path? And the idea itself is well executed, as I mentioned earlier. Graphics are decent, and the music pushes the limits of the system, so you'd think the game would be great, right? Too bad crap level design ruined the whole thing. So I give it the Chakan Award for Bad Genesis Level Design.

               *sigh* Well, it had to come to this eventually, didn't it? Gonna review Halo 3. I know a lot of you are going to bash my head in like a furious Sonic, but I'm going to state my opinion anyway! But first, a bit of useless backstory. On my experiences, obviously. Through a series of tough negotiations, I was allowed to borrow one Xbox 360 game from somebody. I chose Halo 3 just to see what the fuck everybody loved about it. Before I played the game, I found a poster in the box unclaimed. Why do I say this? Well, I already had a Halo 3 poster. Being the massive idiot I am, I now have two Halo 3 posters adorning my walls.
               However, none of this answered my original question: what's so great about Halo 3? After playing it for a few days (ooh, short game, not getting off to a good start), I can safely say that I still don't know what people love about it so much. I must admit that I didn't play the two previous Halo games, but why should I?; a truly great game doesn't have to use other games as a crutch. Given the previous, I had no idea what was going on storywise. Apparently, some purple chick was stolen, and bad aliens are trying to do something with their god that involves proposal rings of death. So some good aliens (who rebelled against the bad aliens) team up with you to win back th-I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE OF THIS!!! I seriously had no idea what was going on throughout the entire game, and although stories don't always hold back a game, it really helps to know what the hell you're doing.
               Whatever, I didn't understand the story, let's move onto something else. How about the mandatory gameplay explanation? Well, this is a first person shooter, and you get a variety of weapons, ranging from swords and hammers to rifles and grenade launchers. Too bad you can only carry two at a time. Why is there this asinine weapon limit on the player? To make it feel more realistic? First Real soldiers are trained to carry pounds upon pounds of heavy equipment daily; I think Master Chief can live with another weapon. Second, why realism? Realism isn't always good. And this wouldn't be so bad if all your weapons could pick up and restock on ammo, but no, only a select few can. So you're forced to scavenge weapons on the fly, a strategy which usually gives you a shit weapon. I fail to see the appeal in this, one of the series' hallmark concepts.
               The other hallmark of the series? The cover system. Rather than a simple HP system that would encourage conservation, strategy, and not running in like Rambo, you get regenerating health. If you're low on health, don't worry; just find something to hide behind, and you'll get it back. It doesn't even have to be decent cover, since enemies suddenly forget of your existence if you happen to hide behind a nearby pebble. It removes all strategy from battle, all of them devolving into one common tactic: pump the aliens full of lead until they're completely magnetic, hiding behind anything if you lose enough health. However, unlike the limited inventory, I can see how this might have worked. If Bungie decided to make a Vietnam based shooter, where the atmosphere and scenarios would have encouraged active cover and plodding combat, then I (and gamers worldwide) would most likely enjoy it more. After all, how many Vietnam based shooters have you played? Exactly. But instead, Bungie wanted to have their cake and eat it, too (original meaning heauh), by making it a crappy action-oriented FPS.
               Wait, I can hear it now. "Vincent, you can't call Halo 3 crap!" Yes, I can. Shut up. "But there have to be some good things about it, like the graphics." No, and I told you to shut up. The graphics are OK. At times, it looks a bit like Ninja Gaiden II, and I thought that game had decent graphics...most of the time. Howevecr, Halo 3 has some sort of lighting problem; the game constantly osscilates between "surface of the sun" and "dear God, I'm blind." I tried turning up the

Where I would rank this game.
Where I would rank this game.
brightn ess both on my television and the game itself, yet neither fixed the problem. Maybe there should've been a feature to bring down the contrast, maybe? Aw, who the hell am I kidding, nothing could make this game better. I tried listening to music from good games while playing it, thinking that would make the game better, but like Duke Nukem 64, it fixed nothing. The deployable cover system remained useless; the final boss was still piss easy; the combat was still mindless and patronizing; and the story was still more confusing than the damn Voynich manuscript.
               Seriously, what has happened to gaming that this is considered good? This game is not good at all. I'd say this is what happens when you apply film philosophies to the video game medium, but that would sound pretentious. Besides, Final Fantasy XII displays that with far more gusto than Halo 3 ever could. No, wait, I will say that is what happens when you do what I just said. The story is up its own ass far enough, and the music is the passive ambiance crap you see (OK, hear) in big name movies. Why do you think I listened to all that music? I came into this game expecting a fantastic adventure, but I wouldn't rank this in my top 10 games of all time. I wouldn't even put it in my top 20. I don't know where I'd put it, but it definitely goes below my crap threshold (the point where games stop being good and start sucking). So I give this game the Kefka was Onto Something Award for Destruction of Humanity, and await your inevitable complaints, whether they're directed at my actual opinion, or towards the length of this blog. And of course, there are alternatives...


(Oh, that reminds me of a few things I forgot, like how the vehicles control like crap, or how your allies can't be trusted with 4th grade safety scissors. Just had to put that in here.)